Was it worth taking part?
Definitely! For many reasons.
I am keen to build a career in the retail and consumer goods industries and I saw the competition as a way to gain exposure with Mars, the company sponsoring the Future Leader in Business award. I can say that I definitely have learned more about the firm, having met people from recent graduates to senior leaders. These people were also from several functions (sales, HR, marketing etc) so I’ve built knowledge that is transferable across organisations in the FMCG industry. Despite not winning the award itself, I have added many people from Mars to my network, including recruiters, which positions me well for realising future opportunities. The competition is, of course, great practice for other application processes and gave me a confidence boost, which ultimately helped me secure job offers at other employers.
What was the application process like?
I knew of the competition because other students at my university had taken part in previous years and I had received the emails from TARGETjobs. You’ve got to be in it to win it and the application process is great practice regardless of the outcome. Mars gave me lots of good feedback, which has helped me pinpoint my weaknesses.
1) Application form.
The standard, ‘fill-in-your-details’ type of form with a twist. Mars expects you to demonstrate an interest in the company and the food industry. They will definitely read your answers so be sure to put effort into reading up on topical issues!
2) Online tests.
If you are screened successfully, there are some standardised tests to complete. If you’ve applied for jobs/internships, you’ll be very familiar with them already.
3) Telephone interview.
The third round is a phone interview with employees from Mars. Try to keep your nerves down and take deep breaths a few minutes before the phone is expected to ring. Know about the business, the industry and articulate your motivation for applying.
4) Assessment centre.
The best bit. Mars will invite you to an expenses-paid assessment centre at one of their world-leading facilities. You’ll get to meet loads of people from the firm and other students competing. It’s all very friendly and you have a lovely lunch! Be prepared for presentations, group exercises and interviews.
5) Awards ceremony day.
First off, Mars invited the top ten finalists in this category to a private networking breakfast in London beforehand, which was a great surprise and another opportunity to chat to representatives from the firm in an informal environment (you aren’t being assessed anymore!). Then we walked over to the glitzy ceremony in Canary Wharf. You’ll get to meet all the firms and finalists from all awards during the networking, plus have a nice meal.
This prestigious competition is a terrific chance to build up your CV and I would recommend all ambitious students give it a shot.
I’m happy to be contacted via LinkedIn. Feel free to reach out! https://uk.linkedin.com/in/andrewjamieson21 (BSc Economics ’17 at The University of Warwick)
Where are they now?
Andrew has graduated and has a few holidays lined up before he starts his Asda graduate scheme in September.